Night Owls by Jenn Bennett

Beatrix is an aspiring artist, and determined to follow in di Vinci's footsteps she decides to do something that will give her an edge in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing cadavers. When she sneaks her way into the hospital's Willed Body program and misses her bus home, she meets a boy who turns her plans upside down. The book follows their romance, as Beatrix grows to learn who Jack really is, under all that charm and tries to uncover what he's hiding. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in Beatrix' own family's closet tear them apart? (from Goodreads).

Rating:

I was really looking forward to this book, and what first caught my attention was the cover. It's just so elegant and eye-catching. I'm so glad I happened across it, because this book is great. 

Our main character is Beatrix (known as Bex), a seventeen year old girl with a goal. Her goal is to be a medical illustrator. I've never met someone interested in that career before, so it was pretty interesting. Bex is a little bit shy, a little bit withdrawn from the world. As an artist, she expresses herself through black and white and grey. Colour is too expressive, too emotional, for her. When we meet her, her dreams of drawing cadavers to aid her scholarship attempt have been dashed and she is waiting for her bus home. Then, all of a sudden, her summer changes forever when she meets Jack Vincent. He charms her off her feet, really, and I think from the moment they meet she falls a little bit in love with him. 

It's a rather sweet coming-of-age book, and Bex is a wonderful character. She is shy, but driven all the same. This is the first time Bex has ever fallen in love, because her previous boyfriend was a dick, and it's wonderful to see. Her and Jack have such great chemistry, and play off each other so well - it's what I like to see in my couples. Their romance was something I could get behind. The plot moved at the right pace, and the stars seemed to begin to align for our young couple when they really put the effort in to try. 

There were two things that disappointed me about Night Owls. Firstly, everything got wrapped up in such a tidy package by the end. Everyone gets their happy ending, and that irked me a little. For the strives Bennett made to make this book feel real, wrapping everything up so neatly seemed wrong. If this is realistic fiction, then be realistic about life. Endings aren't perfect, and neither are people. So why is Jack? This is my other problem. The way the book was described, it made it sound as though Jack would be the dangerous choice, or the wrong one. But he wasn't. He was sweet and caring, perhaps a little bit of a rebel. But that's it. Why wouldn't it work out between them other than his trust issues? There are no family secrets that legitimately affect Jack's relationship with Bex, and the 'skeletons' in Bex's own life really aren't of importance either. So really, there was nothing holding them back, making their relationship difficult. They were just finding each other and their footing, that's it. 

But it was a cute story to read and I enjoyed Bex' voice as a main character. I related to her quite well, and her humour matches my own. Bex' mum reminds me of my own, as well; stubborn, very eager to still make me very uncomfortable about sex. Her brother would have been a good character to see more of, maybe. I definitely would have liked to see more of Jillian, because she could have been a really dark, intricute character. Instead it just felt like she was brushed over, her only reason for being present to cause some drama for Jack's family. 

I would recommend giving it a read, and I'm probably just being a little too cynical, taking away a star in my rating because it didn't all end in tears. The characters are likable, and Bex and Jack are rather sweet together. 


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